Save Your Skin This Summer With These 11 Protective Rash Guards That Really Work
I'm a dermatologist's worst nightmare: red hair, pale skin, a tendency to freckle, a love of the beach and outdoor sports — and I grew up in sunny-365-days-a-year Southern California. I know my way around skin protection, from high-SPF sunscreen to the biggest-brimmed hats you can imagine, but nothing works as well as covering up that sensitive skin. Rash guards in particular make a huge difference when I'm at the beach or even swimming laps in an outdoor pool. Brands are making more effective, protective options every year, with a sporty, surfer-girl vibe that works in and out of the water. These 11 options range from super stylish to purely functional, but they all have a UPF of 50, which stands for ultraviolet protection factor — the SPF of clothes. (For reference, a regular white t-shirt, aka your usual beach cover-up, has a UPF of seven.) Pull one of these skin-saving choices over your swimsuit top, and leave unhealthy, painful sunburn in the past.
Billabong Sol Searcher Long Sleeve Rashguard
From Billabong, the Sol Searcher Long Sleeve Rashguard ($50) keeps you covered from neck to wrists in a dark, durable polyamide/elastane blend fabric. The rash guard features a quarter-zip to keep you cool and comfortable in hotter temperatures.
Rip Curl Nighthawk Front Zip Rashguard
Rip Curl is a favorite surf brand, so you can trust that its products will hold up during long hours out in the water. This gorgeous paisley-patterned Nighthawk Front Zip Rashguard ($49, originally $60) has a zipper so you can decide exactly how much coverage you want, and the dark blue coloring makes it extra sun-protective.
Axesea Womens Long Sleeve Rash Guard
The Axesea Womens Long Sleeve Rash Guard ($22-$36) is essentially a supercomfortable long-sleeved one-piece, and it has rave reviews on Amazon: good coverage, high quality, and a flattering fit for a low price point. The suit/rash guard comes in 18 different patterns, so take your pick.
Patagonia Micro Swell Rashguard
Dark, crew-neck, and with 50+ UPF protection, the Patagonia Micro Swell Rashguard ($99) is a tried-and-true choice for anyone looking for Summer skin protection. It's made of a polyester blend that's guaranteed not to rub or irritate no matter how long you're in the water.
Santorini Front Tie Rashguard
This gorgeous Santorini Front Tie Rashguard ($80) has a summery, Mediterranean feel that makes it perfect for postbeach brunch and dinner, after it's done keeping you safe from rays on the sand. Its fast-drying fabric stays light and cool even after you've taken a dip.
Athleta Vintage Floral Crop Rashguard
Crop rash guards are your go-to for sun protection that provides you full comfort and range of motion. The Vintage Floral Crop Rashguard ($72) from Athleta, in this vibrant minty green, is a great choice, complete with a back-pull zipper for easy on-and-off.
Roxy Long Sleeve Rash Guard
Bona-fide surfer-girl brand Roxy is the brand behind this Long Sleeve Rash Guard ($50), made of a soft, stretchy fabric that stays comfortable in and out of the water. The deep indigo color and delicate, colorful sleeve-and-side detailing make this rash guard a stylish, sporty, and sun-safe choice.